October 25, 2010

Almost 400 experts from around the world will gather in Winnipeg for the 13th North American Caribou Workshop from Oct. 26 to 28 to share ideas and develop initiatives that will help protect Manitoba’s caribou herds, Conservation Minister Bill Blaikie announced today.

“We expect the scientific and traditional knowledge exchanged in Winnipeg at this conference will help preserve caribou in Manitoba, in North America and around the world,” said Blaikie.  “Caribou are an iconic Canadian species whose continuing existence is intimately tied to the health of the environment and other animals.”

The conference, which is held every two years, is being funded with $10,000 from Manitoba Conservation and $17,000 from Manitoba Hydro, in addition to other sponsors.  The event, titled Sustaining Caribou and Their Landscapes – Knowledge to Action, will be held at the Fairmont Hotel in Winnipeg.

Participants are coming from all over North America and several European nations and will include Aboriginal elders and community members, caribou biologists, staff from government departments and non-government agencies, researchers and students.

“Our First Nations have a unique heritage and relationship with caribou,” said Blaikie.  “Their experiences, viewpoints and traditional knowledge will help guide effective management of the species.”

In Manitoba there are three types of caribou. The barren-ground herd is located in the far north, the coastal herd is along the Hudson Bay in Manitoba and the boreal woodland caribou is located in central regions of the province. In Canada, boreal woodland caribou are listed as threatened under the federal Species at Risk Act. Manitoba has listed this caribou as threatened under its Endangered Species Act.

“We’re pleased that Manitoba is hosting this important gathering of caribou scientists and traditional knowledge holders,” said Ron Thiessen, executive director of the Manitoba chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS). “It’s our hope that this meeting of the minds will expedite efforts to secure a healthy future for threatened woodland caribou populations and their vast boreal habitats in Manitoba and across North America.”

Under the direction of the Eastern Manitoba Woodland Caribou Advisory Committee, the Manitoba Model Forest is continuing a study on the woodland caribou with $20,000 in support from Manitoba Conservation. The research in the Owl Lake range will also include activities such as documenting the movement of adult caribou and their young using radio-collar monitoring.The Province of Manitoba has also conducted research on caribou in the past with the support of partners such as Nunavut, First Nations, federal government agencies, forest and mining companies, universities, the Manitoba Model Forest and Manitoba Hydro.

Additional information on the caribou in Manitoba can be found at

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